The Sunday Mail
Five-year-old Glen Norah-based AS Academy – a brainchild of former Dynamos captain Steven Alimenda – has formed a tie-up with Buhera-based Division Two outfit Scorpion Empire FC, which has the potential to bridge the gap between rural and urban football development.
AS Academy was founded in 2018 when Alimenda retired from the game after winning two league titles with Dynamos in 2013 and 2014.
The gritty defensive linkman also turned out for CAPS United and Highlanders, and featured for the Warriors in a historic international against Brazil in 2010.
“AS Academy has five age groups from U10, U12, U14, U16 and U20.
“Our U20 side has been playing in Division Two. We are not concerned with results; mostly, we are looking at development aspects,” said Alimenda.
AS Academy’s link with Scorpion Empire of Buhera means a number of gifted players from that part of Zimbabwe now have access to urban teams.
“I have realised that there is a lot of talent from the rural areas and I have taken quite a number to Harare.
“So far so good. The boys are doing well. In such a short period we have managed to place players with some top-flight clubs.
“We have Tawanda Munzira at ZPC Kariba. We also have players like Trust Masawi at Busha 54 in Division One.
“Defensive linkman Prosper Munyuki, defender Tanaka Garananga and goalkeeper Munyaradzi Chitsinde are some of the players to watch out for.
“Most of our players from our U20 side are set for trials and assessment with some PSL and Division One clubs.”
As a beneficiary of junior football development programmes, he added, his desire was to give back to the community.
“At the same time, football takes these youngsters away from such bad things as drug abuse …”
Scorpion Empire founder Gilbert Rumbwere is targeting to have his side play Division One football next year.
“The idea is to develop the less privileged people from the rural areas,” he said.